New online information profiles that will help people to choose, compare and comment on care homes and other care services is being launched today by the Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb.

The new profiles, part of the NHS Choices website, will create the most definitive online source of information on care services, including:

  • essential information from every registered care provider, including detail on services provided
  • official reports from Care Quality Commission inspections
  • comments from the public on their experience of care and services, including links to existing comment sites
  • from next month the ability for the public to give services star ratings
  • Ofsted-style ratings for care services as they are developed.

Thousands of organisations who provide care services have started adding information to the website, such as details of what specialised services they provide, staff details, photos of their care homes or menu information; and many more are expected to do so over the coming months.

When fully populated with information from providers and comments from the public, this powerful online resource will give people the ability to search for good quality care that best meets their specific needs and preferences, by letting them compare each provider.

NHS Choices will also feature revamped information that explains the ‘essentials’ of care, such as what people’s entitlements are, how to organise an assessment for care needs, where to go for independent advice, how to go about getting and planning care, and how to pay for it.

Care and Support Minister, Minister Norman Lamb said:

“A fully open, transparent and comprehensive service like this will leave bad care nowhere to hide. This means better standards and quality of care across the board.”

“By reading about the experiences of others, people can make confident choices about their care and help providers know where to make improvements, if needed.”

The Department of Health has been working with some care service providers to set up this new resource and wants to encourage more and more providers to make sure they add their information as soon as possible.

This new care and support information will sit within a new section on the already established NHS Choices website, which had around 27 million visits last month, including on existing search systems for hospitals and GPs – which sees just over 62,000 comments from the public a year. Up to 75 per cent of GPs already update their profiles giving people more information from which to choose services.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission said:

“People often do not know whether a service is good or not. Provider Quality Profiles will provide people with important information about the quality of care services. They will include the reports from CQC inspections which will help people to select a care home or other care service. Up to date, accurate information is key to making choice a reality.”

Working in partnership with CQC, this new site makes extensive use of CQC information about care services, helping the public find essential information about care

As this online resource develops, care homes and other registered care and support services will expand their profiles to include performance against specific standards to allow people to compare different providers. This will include falls, bed sores, medication management, staff stability, training of staff as well as missed and timely visits for home care.

Examples of fully-completed profiles can be found at: St Cecilia’s care home in Scarborough, Choice Support Aylesbury, The Good Care Group in London and Oxfordshire Shared Lives Scheme.

By providing practical, information about care providers, we expect that the care and support sector will become more open and that providers of care will want to make sure the information is as accurate and informative for the public as possible.

Norman Lamb added:

“Bringing together all this information will give people facing difficult decisions about care an easy way to compare local care options, putting them more in control.”

“This new web information is a work in progress. As more providers add their details and more people comment on their profiles, there will be an even greater volume of knowledge and information available then ever before that will benefit everyone.”

The website will also allow providers of care to reply to critical comments from the public, therefore updating people on why they operate in a particular way, what they are doing to improve and ensuring an open conversation can take place.

The Department of Health is working with providers of care to make sure that information remains current and up to date. At present around 8,000 providers of care have started the process of editing their profiles and the Department will continue working with the care sector to make sure that more providers add more information on their profiles.

The new resource is part of wider programme of work to improve the quality of care and support in England, and was first announced in the care and support White Paper in July 2012. The Department has progressed a number of further initiatives in the sector to improve quality of care, including a new Code of Conduct and Minimum Training Standards of care for adult social care workers.

This broad programme will see a greater standard of care for people in care and will mean a more coordinated system between the NHS and social care which people will have a greater sense of support on.

Blog article taken from a Department of Health Press Release


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